5. Review and revise the case plan

5.1 Complete the review and revision process

Every case plan developed for a child under the Child Protection Act 1999, part 3A, must be regularly reviewed. The purpose of the case plan review is to assess progress towards achieving the case plan goal and outcomes and inform the development of a new case plan where the decision has been made to continue ongoing intervention.

Frequency of reviews

A case plan must be reviewed regularly, taking into consideration the following factors:

  • the child's age and developmental needs
  • the provisions of the case plan
  • any change that has a significant impact on the direction of the case plan.

As a minimum, the case plan must be reviewed every six months, except where a child has a long-term guardian - refer to 5.9 Long-term guardianship to suitable person - case plan review or 5.9 Long-term guardianship to suitable person - case plan review.

Long-term guardianship to a suitable person

Where a child is subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person, contact the child and the long-term guardian at least every 12 months to give the child an opportunity to comment on or ask questions about the case plan. The case plan may be reviewed if the child or the guardian requests a case plan review or if Child Safety otherwise considers it necessary to review the case plan.

For further information refer to 5.10 Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - case plan review and Chapter 3, 1. What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship?Supporting children in the care of long-term guardians (PDF) and Child related costs - Long-term guardian support (PDF) policies.

Review participants

Active efforts are to be made to enable the following people to participate in the review of a case plan (Child Protection Act 1999, section 51W):

  • the child, if age and developmentally appropriate
  • the child's parents
  • other members of the child's family group who are considered likely to make a significant contribution to the case plan
  • other people with whom the child has a significant relationship, for example, the child's approved carer or guardian
  • any legal representative for the child
  • relevant service providers.

For an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, arrange for independent person to help facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in the review of a case plan. Refer to Chapter 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Decide the process for a case plan review

When reviewing a case plan, the use of a family group meeting is not required, but may be an appropriate way of engaging people, particularly when:

  • there is disagreement between family members and Child Safety about the case plan
  • previous actions have not been completed
  • changes to the case plan are being proposed which would significantly change the permanency goals or outcomes.

When a family group meeting is held to review a case plan and develop a revised case plan, provide the convenor with copies of the following information:

  • all relevant information, including a copy of the draft review report, family reunification assessment (if the child is in care) or family risk re-evaluation assessment (for a child subject to in-home intervention)
  • the child's strengths and needs assessment
  • parental strengths and needs assessment (if the case plan goal is reunification or if the child remains safely at home)
  • any other relevant information that has become available since the referral, including details of any additional significant family members or other persons that have been identified.

When a family group meeting is not to be used for the case plan review, consider a combination of strategies to conduct the review to ensure it occurs in an inclusive and participative way, for example, meetings with the family, meetings with individuals or groups of individuals or, where necessary, telephone interviews.

Refer to section 2.3 Prepare for a family group meeting for more information on the Family Group Meeting (FGM) process, where an FGM is convened to review the child’s case plan.

Review of the case plan

As part of the review of a case plan, Child Safety must undertake the following activities:

  • decide, in collaboration with the child and family, where possible how the review process will occur and arrange meetings and venues, as required
  • contact the participants to gather relevant information to inform the review
  • consider and assess all of the up-to-date information about the case
  • in collaboration with the child and family, where possible 
  • complete either: 
  • assess progress towards the case plan goals (both primary and alternative)
  • complete a safety assessment where case closure is being considered, or where circumstances have changed in the family and safety needs to be re-assessed
  • meet with the relevant people to:
    • share relevant information and the outcome of assessments by Child Safety
    • explore with the family any barriers if certain actions have not been undertaken, and other options that may be utilised
    • discuss other services options if the needs of the child or family have changed
    • assess the progress towards of the case plan, and identify whether other key actions are required
    • review the progress of the child health passport, where the child is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive
    • review the implementation of the child's cultural support plan, where relevant
    • discuss the matters outlined in the Child Protection Act 1999, section 51X, which must be included in the review report
    • decide whether ongoing intervention will occur or whether to close the case - refer to Chapter 3, 4. Close an ongoing intervention case
  • complete the review report in ICMS - refer to 5.6 Complete the review report.

As part of the case planning and review process, ensure that any information received via an Integrated Justice Information Strategy (IJIS) notification (Criminal court matter alert) email, or an IJIS Electronic transfer of court result email, is considered. For further information, refer to Chapter 2, 19. What if information is received via an Integrated Justice Information Strategy automated email alert? and the practice resource Receiving Integrated Justice Information Strategy email alert information.

Complete the development of a revised case plan

Once the decision is made that ongoing intervention will continue, Child Safety must undertake the following activities to develop a new case plan:

Where relevant, refer to the Practice guide: The assessment of harm and risk of harm (PDF, 886 KB).

Practice panels

A practice panel can occur at critical decision making points and will be held prior to any child protection order expiring, regardless of whether another order, extension, revocation or variation is being recommended to DCPL.

In relation to a permanency decision, the case must be referred to a practice panel, where consideration is being given to recommending an application be made to the Childrens Court for a child protection order, in accordance with 5.4 Refer the case to a practice panel, and Chapter 3, 2. Decide the type of child protection order, if required.

5.2 Re-assess the level of family risk for 'in home' cases

When to complete a family risk re-evaluation

The family risk re-evaluation is to be completed as part of the review of a case plan for a child, where there are children living at home and subject to:

  • intervention with parental agreement
  • directive or supervision orders
  • custody or guardianship order, and the child has returned home as part of the reunification process.

The family risk re-evaluation is also to be completed as part of the review of a support plan for a child subject to a support service case, refer to Chapter 7, 2.1 Support Service Case.

If a child is in care, complete the family reunification assessment - refer to 5.3 Assess whether reunification can occur.

As part of the review process, it is necessary to assess the ongoing risk to the child, which includes the completion of the family risk re-evaluation. The purpose of the family risk re-evaluation is to guide the decision about:

  • whether to continue ongoing intervention or close the case for a child who remains in the home
  • the current level of risk
  • the new level of contact required with the child and family.

The family risk re-evaluation re-assesses the risk level in a household by considering the progress with the case plan and any changes in the family's environment and behaviour during its implementation.

Complete the family risk re-evaluation

To complete the family risk re-evaluation:

  • complete one family risk re-evaluation for the relevant family or household
  • choose the 'primary parent', in accordance with 1.3 Assess the parental strengths and needs
  • using all known information, application of the SDM definitions and your professional judgement, select the the best response for each of the ten items
  • determine whether a policy or discretionary override is required, as outlined below
  • record the family risk re-evaluation in ICMS and submit it to the senior team leader for approval
  • compare the current risk level with the outcome of the preceding family risk evaluation or family risk re-evaluation and where the risk level has increased, review the appropriateness of the current intervention and consider the following:
    • whether a safety assessment is required due to a change in family circumstances
    • what factors are preventing the effective implementation of the case plan
    • whether the current type of ongoing intervention is still the most appropriate type of intervention
    • whether additional services are required to support the family
    • whether the current service provider is culturally appropriate
    • whether the family is committed to implementing the case plan.

For further information and definitions, refer to SDM: Family risk re-evaluation.

Policy and discretionary overrides

A policy or discretionary override will either increase or decrease the risk level scored in the family risk re-evaluation.

Select a policy override, which changes the risk level to 'high', regardless of the score, in any of the following situations:

  • sexual abuse is substantiated and the person responsible for this abuse is likely to have access to the child
  • there is a non-accidental injury to a child under age three years
  • a parent has caused severe non-accidental injury to a child
  • a parent has caused the death of a child due to abuse or neglect.

A policy override is only used if one of the above situations has occurred since the initial family risk evaluation or the previous family risk re-evaluation. If the event has occurred at anytime prior to that, do not use a policy override, consider a discretionary override if required.

Consider whether a discretionary override is applicable, to increase or decrease the risk level by one level, and:

  • seek senior team leader approval for use of the discretionary override
  • record the rationale for use of the discretionary override in ICMS
  • record the 'final risk level'
  • record the 'ongoing intervention decision', either 'case remains open' or 'case closed'
  • submit the completed family risk re-evaluation to the senior team leader for approval.

5.3 Assess whether reunification can occur

When to complete the family reunification assessment

The family reunification assessment is completed:

  • as part of every case plan review, when the case plan goal is reunification, and child is in care and subject to a child protection order or interim order
  • prior to any decision to reunify a child with their family.

The family reunification assessment is not used for children:

  • on long-term child protection orders when a decision has been made for them to remain in a long-term stable care placement
  • on assessment orders and placed in an care
  • on a TCO and placed in care
  • who are placed in care under a care agreement.

A family reunification assessment is necessary to determine whether ongoing case planning will focus on:

  • returning the child home
  • continuing concurrent planning for permanency with the family
  • preparing for an alternative permanency option for the child

The family reunification assessment specifies timeframes within which reunification must occur, before an alternative permanency option should be pursued. For children in care, preparation for an alternative permanency option will be intensified when:

  • the risk level has remained ‘high’, and the child has been in a continuous period of care for 18 months from the date of the final order
  • the contact has been rated as ‘fair’, ‘poor’ or ‘none’ and the child has been in care for 18 months from the date of the final order
  • the household has been deemed ‘unsafe’ and the child has been in care for 18 months from the date of the final order.

The timeframes outlined above do not prevent a decision being made to pursue an alternative permanency option for the child at an earlier point of intervention by Child Safety. This decision will still be subject to ongoing case planning, implementation and review processes, in order to provide adequate evidence to the Childrens Court, in support of an application for a long-term child protection order.

The family reunification assessment assists in assessing the key areas for deciding reunification, which include assessing the family’s progress with the case plan, evaluating risk and re-assessing safety in the reunification household. The decision to return a child home must be based upon the sufficient achievement of case plan action steps, and the capacity to develop a robust immediate safety plan with the family and safety and support network if an immediate harm indicator is identified.

The purpose of the family reunification assessment is to:

  • re-assess risk in the household, assess parents’ progress and achievement towards case plan goals and actions, including the quantity and quality of parent-child contact
  • assess safety, and the potential to develop an immediate safety plan with the family and safety and support network - for example, in circumstances where family contact is increasing or the child is returning home
  • guide case planning to one of three permanency plan recommendations.

Prior to the decision to reunify a child with their parents, determine whether a parent, their partner or an adult member in the reunification household has a conviction for a serious criminal offence against a child – refer to 8. What if there are criminal matters to consider during reunification? 

Complete the family reunification assessment

To complete the family reunification assessment:

  • assess only one household per family reunification assessment, however, in circumstances where two families may be working towards the child living in their care, complete two separate family reunification assessments
  • ensure all relevant information from a range of internal and external sources is available to inform the assessment
  • meet and engage with the family and child, where age and developmentally appropriate, to inform the completion of the family reunification assessment
  • explain the assessment process to the family to ensure that they understand what is required to achieve reunification and the expectations for parent-child contact, including the quantity, type and quality of the contact
  • use information gathered in the current implementation period and refer to the definitions, to complete the assessment
  • record the family reunification assessment in ICMS and submit it to the senior team leader for approval.

The family reunification assessment sections

A brief overview of each section is outlined below.

Section A: family reunification re-evaluation

This section scores and re-assesses the probability of future abuse and neglect incidents, based on the information gathered since the last review of the case plan. A reduced level of risk will be achieved when the family has made significant progress under the case plan. In this section, always use the risk level from the initial family risk evaluation that was completed during the investigation and assessment, or, if a subsequent investigation and assessment has been completed since the child entered care, use that risk level from that family risk evaluation.

Note: For a child who was the subject of a support service case prior to their birth, and who subsequently becomes subject to intervention with parental agreement or a child protection order and has no siblings, the default risk level will be ‘high’. Where the child has siblings, the default risk level will be that of the siblings.

Section B: parent-child contact visit plan evaluation

This section evaluates contact between the child and the parent, but not contact with other family members, and considers:

  • the quality of the parent-child interaction
  • the supervision status and location of the contact
  • the type of contact
  • the parents compliance with contact arrangements.

Section C: reunification safety re-assessment

Completion of this section guides both safety planning and case planning, and addresses the potential to develop an immediate safety plan in circumstances where family contact may be increasing or reunification is considered possible in the near future. Assessing the presence of acts of protection, family strengths, and resources will help determine whether safety interventions can be applied to control any immediate harm.

For siblings, there is ability to assess each child’s safety individually or as a group, and potential safety interventions may differ depending on the vulnerability of the child and individual circumstances.

In circumstances where an immediate safety plan is developed with the family and network, there is ability to attach it to the Family Reunification Assessment in ICMS.

Note: where an immediate safety plan is to be developed for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, arrange for an independent person to help facilitate their participation in the safety plan, unless exceptions apply, refer to 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Section D: permanency plan recommendation guidelines

Complete this section for every child. It is based on the outcomes of the risk, contact and safety assessments in sections A-C and reunification is recommended when:

  • risk has been reduced to an acceptable level
  • the parents have complied with the arrangements for contact as outlined in the case plan, and the quality of the parent and child interaction has been positive
  • the child is determined to be ‘safe’ on return home or ‘safe with immediate safety plan’, and a robust immediate safety plan has been developed with the family and safety and support network to allow reunification to be considered.

Alternatively, reunification is not recommended when:

  • the risk in the family remains high
  • the parents have not complied with the arrangements for contact as outlined in the case plan
  • the home is assessed as 'unsafe' with continued placement the only possible intervention to ensure the child’s safety.

Following completion of this section, one of three recommendations will be generated:

  • reunification: is recommended, based on risk reduction, ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ progress with parent-child contact arrangements and a safe or ‘safe with immediate safety plan’ home environment
  • continue concurrent planning: maintain the placement and continue reunification efforts with the assessed household while also working on the alternative permanency option
  • prepare for alternative permanency option: this does not mean that the child will cease contact with their family, but will include intensified efforts to achieve relational, physical and legal permanency for the child.

When reunification is the recommendation, consider what type of intervention will best support the family and the reunification process.

Section E: permanency plan recommendation summary

This section records the permanency plan recommendation from section D. To complete section E:

  • complete this section for each child
  • complete additional summaries for each child if there are two or more children with different permanency plan recommendations in section D
  • consider whether a discretionary override is required to change the final permanency plan recommendation for the child - if required, record the rationale for the decision and seek senior team leader approval
  • record the final permanency plan recommendation
  • where an override recommends reunification, review the outcome of the safety assessment, and where required, ensure a robust immediate safety plan is in place prior to returning the child home - refer to 5.1 Complete the review and revision process
  • if the permanency decision is to prepare for an alternative permanency option, select one of the following permanency goals:
    • long-term guardianship to a relative
    • long-term guardianship to another suitable person
    • long-term guardianship to the chief executive
    • permanent care order
    • parenting order about with whom the child should live, through the Family Court of Australia
    • adoption (Adoption Act 2009)
    • other.

Referring the matter to a practice panel will guide the determination to pursue an alternative permanency option for a child. The maximum duration for a short-term child protection custody or guardianship order cannot extend beyond a total continual period of two years, unless reunification is in the child’s best interest and is reasonably achievable within a longer stated period of time (Child Protection Act 1999, section 62(2C) (a) and (b)). When it is determined that another type of child protection order is the most appropriate permanency option, consult with the OCFOS officer in regard to making a recommendation to DCPL. Where the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, arrange for an independent person to help facilitate the child’s and family’s participation in the decision to refer the matter to DCPL, unless exceptions apply, refer to Chapter 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Where the child is currently placed with a kinship carer, consult with the senior practitioner, senior team leader and OCFOS officer to determine whether an application to the Family Court of Australia (by the kinship carer) may be an appropriate option. The OCFOS officer will consult with DCPL in relation to this matter.

Section F: current case status

Complete this section for every child. It records one of the following decisions about ongoing intervention:

  • case remains open with at least one child in care future family reunification assessments required
  • all children are being reunified and case remains open for ongoing intervention – future safety assessment and family risk re-evaluations required prior to closing
  • prepare for alternative permanency option – future child strengths and needs assessments required
  • other - specify, for example, seeking an order from the Family Court of Australia.

For further information and reunification guidelines refer toto SDM: Family reunification assessment.

Determine the preferred permanency option

When the family reunification assessment recommends that Child Safety prepare for a an alternative permanency option  and a long-term guardianship order to a family member, other suitable person or the chief executive, or a permanent care order is to be recommended, ensure that:

  • efforts have been made to locate both parents
  • intervention has occurred to assist the family towards resuming the care of the child in a timely way - an exception to this is where there is no parent available or the parent demonstrates an inability to meet the child's protection and care needs, for example, due to a significant intellectual disability
  • the child's need for physical, relational and legal permanency will be best met in the long-term by the order
  • the child’s connection to culture, community and country will be supported and met by the order
  • the revised case plan, submitted to the Childrens Court upon the application for an order granting long-term guardianship to a suitable person, incorporates key items specific to the proposed order - refer to 3.3 Develop key items in the case plan - application for long-term guardianship to a suitable person and 3.4 Develop key items in the case plan – permanent care order
  • the ongoing support needs of the child and the proposed long-term guardian are assessed and documented in the revised case plan to be submitted to the Childrens Court, upon making an application for the order
  • a practice panel has endorsed the decision to cease reunification and seek a long-term placement, or where consensus is not reached by panel members, the CSSC manager has made this decision - refer to 5.5 Refer the case to a practice panel.

For further information refer to Chapter 3, 2.6 Apply for a long-term guardianship order.

5.4 Refer the case to a practice panel

The purpose of the practice panel is to provide a consistent, collaborative approach to decision-making, which allows consideration of different perspectives to support the application of objective, balanced assessment and professional rigour to all critical decision-making for a child. A practice panel must be convened:

  • prior to the finalising any permanency option for a child
  • prior to any child protection order expiring, regardless of whether another order, extension, revocation or variation is being recommended to DCPL
  • in cases where reunification is being considered or planned.

Practice panel composition

The composition of a practice panel is determined by the purpose of the panel or what type of decision is required. As a general guide practice panel members should include:

  • a manager (where delegated authority is required for any decisions made)
  • a senior practitioner
  • the senior team leader responsible for the child
  • the CSO responsible for the child
  • a CSSO or other Child Safety officers working with the child
  • a cultural practice advisor (for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children)
  • an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, independent of the case, when making permanency decisions for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child
  • where appropriate, workers from other government services or community agencies who are working with the child and family
  • where appropriate, a professional with specialist knowledge or expertise, for example, disability, domestic and family violence, drug and alcohol, mental health.
  • a critical friend – an independent Child Safety or other government service or community agency third party, who has had no previous involvement in decision making regarding the child. An Indigenous critical friend is strongly recommended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children there should be adequate cultural representation during practice panel discussions.

It is considered best practice to separate legal advice from practice decisions about the best interests of a child. The practice panel process is tasked with applying the best child protection practice expertise of the group to decision-making. The application of a legal framework at this time could steer the conversation in a certain way or limit thinking, as well as compromise legal privilege.

Legal advice provided by legally qualified OCFOS officers is subject to legal privilege (confidential and protected from disclosure). This privilege is waived if any third party is present when the advice is given. A third party is anyone not employed by Child Safety.

OCFOS staff may attend a practice panel as an observer to inform themselves about a matter, but it is not a forum for their contribution. Following the discussion within the child protection framework and after any external parties have exited, OCFOS staff may provide legal advice about whether there is sufficient evidence to support the assessed course of action and what more could be done to secure evidence to support the case direction.

Convening a practice panel

Generally, a senior practitioner will facilitate a practice panel. In circumstances where the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, consideration should be given to having the panel convened by a cultural practice advisor.

Documentation to inform practice panel discussions and record outcomes

The Practice panel record includes a ‘Collaborative Assessment and Planning (CAP) Framework’ section to organise case information to be presented to the practice panel. The record is begun by the CSO and the senior team leader who have case responsibility for the child, and will include the views of child and family where possible. This task occurs prior to the practice panel and the information is provided to panel members prior to the panel meeting.

Other useful documents that could be considered by practice panel members may include:

  • a genogram
  • other framework tools that have been completed with the child and/or family such as the CAP tool, Three Houses, Family Roadmap, Future House or Safety House.
  • external assessments in relation to medical needs, educational or psychological needs
  • the child's strengths and needs and if applicable, the parental strengths and needs assessment
  • where applicable the family risk evaluation, family risk re-evaluation and the family reunification assessment.

The Practice panel record is also used to record a summary of the key points of discussion at the practice panel, the decision or recommendation made by the panel and any action steps required.

Arrange for the panel to convene

When the panel membership is decided:

  • schedule the practice panel meeting
  • invite all relevant participants
  • provide the relevant documentation (as outlined above) to panel members, prior to the panel convening.

Note: Allow adequate time for panel members to consider all information provided, prior to the panel convening

Conduct the practice panel 

Panel members will consider the information outlined in the documents provided.

Minutes of the practice panel and the decisions made must be recorded, usually by the CSO with case responsibility. In some circumstances, an administration officer may record the minutes.

Practice panel members will reach decisions and recommendations by agreement and must be satisfied that the decision or recommendation made by the panel will address the child’s specific safety and permanency needs. A further panel meeting may need to be convened in exceptional circumstances where critical safety factors are not able to be agreed upon.

For further information refer to the practice resource Practice panel guide (PDF, 436 KB) Practice panel guide (DOCX, 57 KB).

Refer to the CSSC manager where consensus cannot be reached

If consensus about the final decision or recommendation cannot be reached by panel members, the matter will be referred to the CSSC manager. As the delegated officer, the CSSC manager will consider the information discussed during the meeting, the views of panel members as noted in the minutes and make a final decision.

Complete a case plan review and revise the case plan

Following the practice panel meeting, complete a review of the child’s case plan, which will include:

  • holding discussions with the child, parents, carers and other parties involved in the review, about the decisions of the panel (or the CSSC manager) 
  • finalising the review report and the revised case plan.

For further information, refer to 5. Review and revise the case plan.

Record keeping

Attach all documentation associated with the practice panel to the relevant event in ICMS.

5.5 Complete the review report

The review report documents the formal review of a case plan and provides evidence that the review of the case plan has occurred through a participative process.

Record a review report

To complete the review report, consider the key areas of assessment, including the progress of the case plan and other matters that must be addressed in the revised case plan such as:

  • the case plan goal and actions from the previous case plan that have been achieved or are yet to be achieved
  • any changes to the goals in the revised case plan
  • any services provided to the child under the previous case plan or the revised case plan
  • the extent to which the care and contact arrangements under the previous case plan have met the child's needs
  • the extent to which arrangements for maintaining and supporting the child's cultural identity have been met
  • who participated in the review, how they participated and whether a family group meeting was held and who attended.

Record in the review report how the child's need for long-term stable care will be met in the revised case plan. When the child is placed in care under a child protection order granting custody or short-term guardianship, the report must state:

  • the risks and benefits of the child to the care of parents
  • whether there is a risk that the child will not return to live with the parents within a stated timeframe (appropriate to the child’s age)
  • the plans that have been made for permanency for the child.

The plan for permanency may involve:

  • arranging for the child to live with a member of the child’s family, or another suitable person, under a child protection order granting long-term guardianship of the child
  • arrangements for the child’s adoption under the Adoption Act 2009
  • for a child fifteen years and over, arrangements for the child’s transition to adulthood through independent living.

Record the review report in ICMS and submit it to the senior team leader for approval.

For a review regarding an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, record whether an independent person helped the child and family participate in the review of the case plan in the ‘Independent entity’ form in ICMS.

When a child is subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, there is a different review report - 'Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - Contact and review report'. For further information refer to 5.10 Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - case plan review.

5.6 Re-assess the child's strengths and needs

Prior to revising the case plan for a child, when the case will remain open for ongoing intervention, re-assess the child's strength and needs. The child strengths and needs assessment will assist in identifying the child's strengths and the needs that must be addressed in the case plan to ensure their safety, belonging and wellbeing. The purpose of this assessment is to:

  • provide current information about the child's strengths and needs and identify changes in the child's functioning
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention and services provided to the child by Child Safety
  • identify whether there are specific areas of Child Safety intervention that need to be amended, or require further attention, in order to meet the child's protection and care needs.

For further information about completing a child's strengths and needs assessment refer to 1.2 Assess the child's strengths and needs.

When a child is subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, there is no requirement to complete the CSNA as part of the case plan review process.

5.7 Re-assess the parental strengths and needs

Prior to revising the case plan for a child, when the case will remain open for ongoing intervention, re-assess the parental strength and needs, unless the child is subject to a custody or guardianship order and the case plan goal is not reunification. Re-assessing the parental strength and needs:

  • provides current information about the parental strengths and needs
  • evaluates the effectiveness of Child Safety intervention to date
  • identifies the three priority parental needs to be addressed in order to meet the child's protection and care needs.

For further information about completing a parental strength and needs assessment refer to 1.3 Assess the parental strengths and needs.

5.8 Develop and endorse the revised case plan

A revised case plan is completed following:

  • the completion of the case plan review
  • the decision to continue ongoing intervention with the child and family
  • completion of the child and parental strength and needs assessments.

Develop a revised case plan

The revised case plan will record the goal, outcomes and actions to ensure a child's protection and care needs and will be informed by current assessments including:

  • the family risk re-evaluation or a family reunification assessment
  • child and parental strength and needs assessments
  • the review report
  • the case plan goal for the next implementation period - this may be the same goal or a revised goal
  • outcomes and actions for the next implementation period including:
    • outcomes that are still relevant but have not yet been achieved
    • new or additional outcomes and actions identified in the review of the existing case plan
    • new outcomes and actions identified as a result of decisions about the case plan direction, for example, the decision to apply for a new child protection order or to extend an existing order
  • actions to plan for an alternative permanency option for the child when reunification is unlikely - depending on the age of the child, options may include the child’s adoption under the Adoption Act 2009 or the child’s transition to independent living
  • ongoing supports to be provided to the child and their long-term guardian, where applicable - refer to Chapter 3, 1. What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship?
  • any revised care and contact arrangements including compliance with the child placement principle
  • arrangements for maintaining and supporting the child's cultural identity as outlined in the cultural support plan
  • services to be provided to the child and family
  • participants in the case plan review, how they participated and whether a family group meeting was held.

Endorse the case plan

Record the new case plan for a child on the approved case plan form in ICMS and submit it to the team leader or senior practitioner for endorsement within 10 business days unless the plan is clearly impracticable or is not in the child's best interests.

When the plan is not endorsed, amend the plan to the extent necessary to ensure that it is workable and consistent with a child's best interests.

Distribute the revised case plan to:

  • the child, when age appropriate
  • the child's parents
  • a suitable person granted the long-term guardianship of the child, where applicable
  • other participants in the review of the case plan, such as, the child's carer or licensed care service.

For further information refer to 3.4 Record, endorse and distribute the case plan.

When the case is to be closed

When the decision is made to close a case following the review process, refer to Chapter 3. Ongoing intervention.

5.9 Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - case plan review

When a child has a long-term guardian, Child Safety must contact the child and long-term guardian every 12 months to give the child an opportunity to request a review of the case plan. For further information about the contact requirements refer to Chapter 3, 1. What if a suitable person has long-term guardianship?

Decide whether to review the case plan

A review of the case plan is required:

  • when requested by the child or the long-term guardian at the 12 monthly contact, where Child Safety agrees to the review
  • at any other time when requested by the child or the long-term guardian, where Child Safety agrees to the review
  • when Child Safety considers it necessary to review the case plan, without it being requested.

The child's case plan will be reviewed regardless of whether it has been requested by the long-term guardian or child, in any of the following circumstances:

  • the long-term guardian is not fulfilling their obligations to tell the child's parents where the child is living, give the parents information about the child's care and is not providing opportunity for contact between the child, parents, family members and other significant people (Child Protection Act 1999, section 80)
  • a review is required to assess the current care arrangement and appropriateness of the order to ensure it is meeting the child's care and protection needs
  • an investigation and assessment regarding the long-term guardian's care of the child has been finalised and the outcome is 'substantiated - ongoing intervention continues' and the child is at an unacceptable risk of harm

Child Safety is notified that the child is no longer residing in the direct care of the long-term guardian

  • the long-term guardian or the child requires time-limited, intensive case work from Child Safety. For further information, refer to the practice resource Program of supports - long-term guardians
  • the long-term guardian makes a request for the high supports needs allowance or the high supports needs allowance has continued beyond 12 months. For further information, refer to the practice resource Program of supports - long-term guardians
  • the long-term guardian or child is in receipt of child related costs payments that have been ongoing for more than 12 months.

For further information, refer to the practice resource Program of supports - long-term guardians.

A case plan review may also be considered when an investigation and assessment regarding the long-term guardians care of the child has an outcome of 'substantiated - ongoing intervention continues' and it has been assessed that the child is not at unacceptable risk of harm.

When a child is subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, the child strengths and needs and parental strengths and needs assessment are not completed.

Exceptions

A formal review of the case plan may not be required when the child or long-term guardian request additional support and this can be managed via case work. These circumstances include, but are not limited to requests for:

  • one-off requests for child related costs
  • referrals to other government and non-government agencies.

In these circumstances, financial and practical support can be assessed and approved by Child Safety without a formal case plan review. For further information, refer to the practice resource Program of supports - long-term guardians.

Decision by Child Safety not to review the case plan

In exceptional circumstances, Child Safety may decide not to review the case plan when it has been requested by a child or long-term guardian. For example, a case plan review may not be considered necessary when a review has recently been conducted and the child's circumstances have not significantly changed since the revised case plan was finalised.

The decision not to review the child's case plan constitutes a 'reviewable decision' (Child Protection Act 1999, schedule 2). When the decision is made not to review the child's case plan:

  • inform the child and long-term guardian of the reason for the decision and how to have the decision reviewed
  • ensure the child's understanding of the review process
  • provide written notice of the decision, as soon as practicable after the decision is made by completing the Letter re: Decision not to review the case plan for the long-term guardian, and writing a letter specifically for the child, based on their age and ability to understand. Attach a copy of each written notice to the relevant event in ICMS.

The senior team leader or CSSC manager is responsible for ensuring compliance with the legislative requirement to provide written notice of the decision to not review the child's case plan.

Decide the process and complete the case plan review

Determine the process for the case plan review on a case-by-case basis and in the best interests of the child. Undertake the review process as outlined in 5. Review and revise the case plan.

Ensure the child and the long-term guardian are provided with an opportunity to participate in a case plan review. However, it is not a requirement that the child and the long-term guardian participate in the review. Where considered appropriate to the circumstances, convene a family group meeting to review the case plan or to develop a new one.

Complete the contact and review report

Where a case plan review occurs as part of the contact with the child and long-term guardian, complete the relevant sections of the 'Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - Contact and review report' in ICMS and:

  • complete the 'Contact with child' section
  • indicate that the review has been requested and approved by Child Safety - this will automatically generate the review report within the form
  • complete the report and submit it to the senior team leader for approval.

If there is no request to review the child's case plan or Child Safety does not agree to a review, in the 'Contact and review report' in ICMS:

  • complete the 'Contact with child' section
  • indicate that a review was not requested or approved by Child Safety - the review report will not be generated
  • submit the report to the senior team leader for approval.

When the child's case plan is not reviewed every 12 months, the existing ongoing intervention event in ICMS will remain open.

Develop the revised case plan

Where a decision is made to revise the case plan, meet with the relevant people and complete the 'Long-term guardianship to a suitable person - Case plan'. This includes:

  • the case plan goal - this may be the same goal or a revised goal, for example, it may change from 'long-term out-of-home care' to 'young person lives independently'
  • the support needs and actions required to ensure the child's protection and care needs including:
    • the outstanding support needs and actions that are still relevant and have not yet been achieved
    • new support needs and actions identified in the review of the existing case plan or as a result of decisions about the case plan direction
    • ongoing supports to be provided to the child and their long-term guardian
    • services to be provided to the child and the long-term guardian
    • any revised care and contact arrangements
    • arrangements for maintaining and supporting the child's cultural identity as outlined in the cultural support plan
    • the participants in the case plan review, how they participated and whether a family group meeting was held.

For a child subject to a long-term guardianship order to a suitable person, an education support plan or a child health passport is not required.

5.10 Permanent care order - case plan review

The case plan for a child subject to a permanent care order can be reviewed in the following circumstances:

  • when requested by a child or the permanent guardian
  • as an outcome of a complaint made about the care of the child by the permanent guardian
  • where the child is no longer in the direct care of the permanent guardian and decisions about the child’s need for protection are required.

When a child subject to a permanent care order no longer resides in the direct care of their guardian, Child Safety must:

  • assess the child’s protection and care needs and wellbeing
  • take any further action that is required, in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 80A(3).

Where a case plan review is to occur:

  • make contact with the child and the permanent guardian to gather information about the current circumstances and assess the child’s current circumstances
  • arrange for a meeting to review the child’s case plan
  • undertake a review of the case plan with the child and permanent guardian to determine if other action is required, such as assisting resolve current issues, revoking the current order, or revoking the current order and making another order
  • record the outcomes of the meeting and take relevant actions.